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Schultze & Leidner/Knowledge Management in IS Research
MIS Quarterly Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 213-242/September 2002 213
R
ESEARCH
A
RTICLE
S
TUDYING
K
NOWLEDGE
M
ANAGEMENT IN
I
NFORMATION
S
YSTEMS
R
ESEARCH
:
D
ISCOURSES AND
T
HEORETICAL
A
SSUMPTIONS
1
By:Ulrike Schultze
Cox School of Business
Southern Methodist University
P.O. Box 750333
Dallas, TX 75275-0333
U.S.A.
uschultz@mail.cox.smu.edu
Dorothy E. Leidner
Hankamer School of Business
Baylor University
Waco, TX 76798-8005
U.S.A.
Dorothy_Leidner@baylor.edu
Abstract
In information systems, most research on knowl-
edge management assumes that knowledge has
positive implications for organizations. However,
knowledge is a double-edged sword: while too
little might result in expensive mistakes, too much
1
Daniel Robey was the accepting senior editor for this
paper.
might result in unwanted accountability. The pur-
pose of this paper is to highlight the lack of atten-
tion paid to the unintended consequences of
managing organizational knowledge and thereby
to broaden the scope of IS-based knowledge
management research. To this end, this paper
analyzes the IS literature on knowledge manage-
ment. Using a framework developed by Deetz
(1996), research articles published between 1990
and 2000 in six IS journals are classified into one
of four scientific discourses. These discourses
are the normative, the interpretive, the critical, and
the dialogic. For each of these discourses, we
identify the research focus, the metaphors of
knowledge, the theoretical foundations, and the
implications apparent in the articles representing
it. The metaphors of knowledge that emerge from
this analysis are knowledge as object, asset,
mind, commodity, and discipline. Furthermore, we
present a paper that is exemplary of each dis-
course. Our objective with this analysis is to raise
IS researchers awareness of the potential and the
implications of the different discourses in the
study of knowledge and knowledge management.
Keywords: Epistemology, knowledge, knowledge
management
ISRL Categories: IB02, AL01, AJ
Schultze & Leidner/Knowledge Management in IS Research
214 MIS Quarterly Vol. 26 No. 3/September 2002
Introduction
Despite the difficulties associated with defining
and identifying knowledge, knowledge has
become a primary resource in organizations.
Organizations are implementing knowledge
management practices and technologies on the
promise of increasing their effectiveness, effi-
ciency, and competitiveness. These promises are
based on an assumption that knowledge is good
and that there are at worst negligible negative
consequences of knowledge management. Scru-
pulous consideration might suggest, however, that
knowledge is a double-edged sword: while too
little leads to inefficiencies, too much results in
rigidities that tend to be counterproductive in a
dynamically changing world (March 1991); while
too little might result in chaotic social relations, too
much implies the silencing of diverse perspectives
(Bowker and Star 1999); and while too little might
result in expensive mistakes (e.g., faulty new
product), too much might result in unwanted
accountability (e.g., the class action law suits filed
against the tobacco industry in the U.S. because
it hid knowledge about the negative health effects
of smoking).
We argue that in order to understand the ways
that information systems can support the manage-
ment of knowledge in organizations, consideration
must be given to not only the intended, positive
consequences of knowledge and its management,
but also the negative, unintended ones. This
requires that researchers have an awareness of
the diversity of possible theoretical assumptions
about knowledge and its management, and the
extent to which the field of knowledge manage-
ment research representsor fails to represent
this potential theoretical diversity. In this paper,
our objective is to raise IS researchers awareness
of the different discourses of knowledge and
knowledge management. Much like Orlikowski
and Baroudi (1991) and Mingers (2001), our intent
is to guard against intellectual monism. By
excluding epistemological and theoretical dis-
courses from knowledge management research,
there is a danger of unduly restricting inquiry into
issues that knowledge management researchers
could and, most probably should, be addressing.
In order to frame the theoretical perspectives and
assumptions that are available for knowledge
management research, we adopt Deetzs (1996)
framework, which allows us to carve the theo-
retical landscape into four scientific discourses:
the normative, the interpretive, the critical and the
dialogic. After identifying and interpreting the
situated, working definitions of knowledge within
each discourse, we develop metaphors of knowl-
edge associated with the discourses. We consi-
der metaphors particularly helpful in shaping and
communicating the meaning of abstract, poorly
understood phenomena (Klagge 1997) such as
knowledge. Lakoff and Johnson (1980, p. 5) sug-
gest that it is a seeing as, a mode of cognition in
which understanding and experiencing [of] one
kind of thing [is done] in terms of another. We
therefore anticipate that the metaphors of knowl-
edge will provide a rich, yet concise, conceptual
tool that will enable knowledge management
researchers and practitioners to capture their
underlying assumptions about knowledge.
This paper is organized as follows: we begin by
presenting the theoretical framework according to
which we categorize and analyze the knowledge
management research published in the field of
information systems. This is followed by a
description of the methodology that we relied upon
to select and analyze the knowledge management
literature in IS. We elaborate on each of the
discourses of knowledge management by first
describing the research themes, knowledge meta-
phors, theoretical foundations, and implications
represented in each discourse, and then dis-
cussing a piece of research that is exemplary of
the discourse. We highlight the implications of
omitting any one of the discourses from the
portfolio of knowledge management research in IS
and conclude with recommendations for IS-based
knowledge management research.
Theoretical Underpinning:
Deetzs Framework
In order to both identify and evaluate the situated
definitions of knowledge and its management in IS
Schultze & Leidner/Knowledge Management in IS Research
MIS Quarterly Vol. 26 No. 3/September 2002 215
research on knowledge management, we rely on
Deetzs (1996) taxonomy of discourses in organi-
zational science. This framework is a contem-
porary adaptation of Burrell and Morgans (1979)
paradigms of social and organizational inquiry.
Developed for the context of scientific inquiry, this
framework appears well suited for making sense
of knowledge management research as well as of
knowledge management itself.
Social scientists have long been concerned with
the differences in ontological and epistemological
assumptions that account for different perspec-
tives, conflicting theories, and contradictory
findings in social and organizational research.
Burrell and Morgans classification of social and
organizational science into four paradigms, i.e.,
positivism, interpretivism, radical structuralism,
and radical humanism, is a primary example.
Criticisms of the framework (e.g., Tinker 1986;
Tsoukas 1994) have led to the development of
alternative frameworks that remedy some of the
weaknesses of Burrell and Morgans taxonomy.
Deetz, for instance, argues that the subjective-
objective dualism results in an oversimplified
classification of research into irreconcilable
opposites such as qualitative versus quantitative
research, hypothesis testing versus hypothesis
developing, and a practical versus a theoretical
focus. Ultimately, these conceptual opposites
result in attributions of good versus bad research
(also Wicks and Freeman 1998). Deetz (p. 195)
contends that the subject-object dualism is
harmful to science in that it reifies and strengthens
false dichotomies by denying the intersubjective,
socially shared, historically produced nature of
phenomena. Deetz concludes that subjectivity
and objectivity are used primarily as rhetorical
moves to justify research programs.
Adopting Deetz critique of the subject-object
divide and his proposal to replace the static
concept of paradigms used by Burrell and Morgan
with the more language-based, dynamic notion of
discourses, we apply his framework to our
research. Each discourse represents an orienta-
tion to organizations, a way of constituting people
and events in them, and a way of reporting on
them. In this respect they bear much resem-
blance with Burrell and Morgans paradigms, but
the discursive underpinnings of Deetz framework
imply that discourses (1) are plagued by internal
strife and conflict, (2) have poorly demarcated
edges in that participants in one discourse borrow
concepts and metaphors from other discourses in
order to dodge criticism by co-optation (Deetz
1996, p. 199), and (3) are not sealed off from each
other as participants from one discourse are
influenced by the insights generated in other
discourses. This implies that the boundaries
between discourses are more fluid than those
between paradigms.
A diagrammatic representation of this model is
presented in Figure 1, where the X axis represents
the origin of concepts and problems dimension
and the Y axis represents the relation to domi-
nant social discourse dimension. In our ensuing
discussion of this model we will commence with
an overview of the two main dimensions: the origin
of concepts and problems, and the relation to the
dominant social discourse. We will then describe
the four discourses.
The Origin of Concepts and Problems:
Local/Emergent Versus Elite/A Priori
Focusing on the constitutive process in research,
the key question addressed by this dimension is
where and how do research concepts arise?
Deetz contends that, as ideal types, research
concepts and problems are either developed with
organizational members participating in research
or applied to them. Whereas the former repre-
sents the local/emergent orientation, the latter
represents the elite/a priori orientation. The local/
emergent orientation develops insights from a
deep understanding of the specifics of organiza-
tional situations. While prior theories may be used
as sensitizing devices in such research, their logic
and vocabulary are frequently intermingled with
the vernacular and concepts developed in inter-
action with research participants from the field. In
contrast, the elite/a priori orientation privileges the
language and expertise of the research com-
munity by defining the problem space in terms of
Schultze & Leidner/Knowledge Management in IS Research
216 MIS Quarterly Vol. 26 No. 3/September 2002
Local/Emergent
Elite/A Priori
Dialogic Discourse Critical Discourse
Normative DiscourseInterpretive Discourse
Dissensus
Consensus
Local/Emergent
Elite/A Priori
Dialogic Discourse Critical Discourse
Normative DiscourseInterpretive Discourse
Dissensus
Consensus
Figure 1. Deetzs Four Discourses of Organizational Inquiry
existing theoretical concepts and by applying the
logic and language of such theories to the organi-
zational situation of interest.
The distinction between the local/emergent and
the elite/a priori orientations has implications for
the generalizability of the research findings:
local/emergent research is more likely to be
particularistic regarding both time and place,
whereas elite/a priori research claims freedom
from both temporal and local limitations on
knowledge production.
The Relation to the Dominant Social
Discourse Dissensus Versus
Consensus
Deetz indicates that research orientations can be
either in line with the dominant social order, i.e.,
the dominant ways of structuring knowledge,
social relations, and identities, or they can be at
odds with it. While the former represents a
consensus orientation, which reproduces the
dominant structures, the latter represents an
orientation of dissensus, which disrupts these
dominant structures. A consensus orientation
characterizes a research program that both seeks
order and regards the production of order and
equilibrium as a normal and even necessary state
of natural and social systems. In contrast, the
dissensus orientation characterizes a research
program that considers struggle, conflict, and
tension as a natural state. Thus consensus
research assumes that organizational phenomena
such as knowledge, culture, and identity are
coherent and more or less unified, whereas
dissensus research assumes that these pheno-
mena are multiple, conflicting, and fragmented.
Next, we briefly describe the four discourses.
The Normative Discourse
According to Deetz, the normative discourse
reflects modernity with its assumptions of
progressive enlightenment as well as increasing
rationalization, management, and control (also
Harvey 1989). Researchers participating in the
normative discourse are concerned with codifi-
Schultze & Leidner/Knowledge Management in IS Research
MIS Quarterly Vol. 26 No. 3/September 2002 217
cation, the normalization of experience, and the
search for law-like relationships. The objects or
artifacts that result from normative research are
described as facts that are assumed to be
reflective of nature. This implies that the research
findings are both generalizable and cumulative.
The search for enlightenment and the striving for
progress assume that there is a place of omni-
science that science can achieve. Seeking to
establish general laws and causal relationships
through hypothesis testing, researchers partici-
pating in the normative discourse typically rely
upon nomothetic methods.
Interpretive Discourse
The interpretive discourse emphasizes the social
rather than the economic view of organizational
activities (Deetz 1996, p. 201). It also embraces
premodern and traditional themes in that it is
concerned with aspects of organizational life that
have not yet been systematized and brought
under the control of rationalized logics. People in
organizations are viewed as active sense-makers,
engaged participants, and creators of organi-
zational life. Ethnographic and hermeneutic
research methods that are grounded in the social
practices of organizational participants are indi-
cative of interpretive research.
Research that is part of the interpretive discourse
aims to create a coherent, consensual, and
unified representation of what the organizational
reality is actually like, despite its complexities
and contradictions. Adhering to the consensus
view of society, this discourse acknowledges the
multi-vocal, fragmented, and conflicted nature of
society, yet also focuses on the integrative values
that allow organizations and communities to
function in harmony.
Critical Discourse
2
The critical discourse is marked by a view of
organizations as sites of political struggle and
fields of continuous conflict. The objective of
critical research is to unmask and critique the
forms of domination and distorted communication
by showing how they are produced and repro-
duced (Ngwenyama and Lee 1997). Cultural
criticism and ideology critique are methods used
by critical researchers. Highlighting how certain
kinds of interest, social practices, and institutional
structures conspire to create power differences
and how they silence and obscure other voices
and alternative perspectives, the critical discourse
aims to create the conditions in which the conflicts
between different groups can be surfaced, dis-
cussed openly, and resolved fairly. This implies
that the reformation of social order is the objective
of researchers participating in the critical
discourse.
Dialogic Discourse
According to Deetz, the dialogic discourse could
also have been labeled the postmodern discourse
in that it focuses not only on the constructed
nature of reality and the role of language in this
construction process, but also on the fragmented
and multi-vocal nature of this never-ending
construction process. The image of social life
held by this discourse is one of disjointed narra-
tives and perspectives that fail to add up to a
coherent reality. Thus a single reality remains
elusive. Indeed, the dialogic discourse seeks to
unpack taken-for-granted social realities in order
to uncover their complexities, their lack of shared
meanings, and their hidden enclaves of
resistance.
Even though the dialogic discourse is similar to
the critical discourse in its concern over asym-
metry and domination, it differs from it in that it
considers power and domination as situational
and not owned by anyone or anything. Instead,
the dialogic discourse traces power and domina-
tion to claims of expertise using deconstructionist
and genealogic methods.
In summary, Deetzs classification of discourses
can serve as a useful framework in assessing the
goals, methods, and hopes of research. When
applied to IS research, the framework can help
assess which discourses are explicitly or implicitly
2
Many subsume research conducted in both the dialogic
and critical traditions under the critical label (e.g.,
Jönsson and Macintosh 1997; Ngwenyama and Lee
1997; Orlikowski and Baroudi 1991). The critical
discourse that we describe here thus overlaps only partly
the critical research as it is defined elsewhere.
Schultze & Leidner/Knowledge Management in IS Research
218 MIS Quarterly Vol. 26 No. 3/September 2002
Table 1. Summary of the Four Discourses
Issue
Normative
Discourse
Interpretive
Discourse
Critical
Discourse
Dialogic
Discourse
Basic Goal Law-like relations
among objects
Display unified
culture
Unmask
domination
Reclaim conflict
Method Nomothetic
science
Hermeneutics,
Ethnography
Cultural criticism,
ideology critique
Deconstruction,
genealogy
Research
Hope
Progressive
emancipation
Recovery of
integrative values
Reformation of
social order
Claim a space for
lost voices
chosen in a given stream of inquiry. By under-
standing the discourses, and the assumptions
underlying the discourses, one is better positioned
to understand and interpret IS research on
knowledge management, and to identify potential
questions for future research. Table 1 presents a
summary of the four discourses that we have just
discussed. This table is abbreviated from Deetz
(1996, p. 199).
Having outlined the theoretical scaffolding that
guides our classification of knowledge manage-
ment research in IS, we now turn our attention to
the method we relied upon for selecting and
coding knowledge management articles.
Method
Knowledge management is the generation,
representation, storage, transfer, transformation,
application, embedding, and protecting of organi-
zational knowledge (adapted from Hedlund 1994;
similarly, Alavi and Leidner 2001; Pentland 1995).
Concepts such as organizational learning (e.g.,
March 1991), organizational memory (e.g., Anand
et al. 1998; Walsh and Ungson 1991), information
sharing (e.g., Constant et al. 1994) and collabo-
rative work (e.g., Schrage 1990) are closely
related to knowledge management. Bearing this
in mind, we selected the following keywords as the
basis for our searches of the IS literature:
knowledge, knowledge management, organi-
zational learning, learning organization(s) and
memory.
We selected six IS journals that publish academic
rather than practitioner research because we
would expect academics to devote more time than
practitioners to contemplating the epistemological
and theoretical assumptions of knowledge and
what it means to manage it. Specifically aiming to
review academic research that represents a
diversity of epistemological assumptions, we
chose the following six journals: Accounting,
Management and Information Technologies
(AMIT), European Journal of Information Systems
(EJIS), Information Systems Research (ISR),
Journal of Management Information Systems
(JMIS), Journal of Strategic Information Systems
(JSIS), and MIS Quarterly (MISQ).
Using the ABI Inform database, the titles and
abstracts of papers published in these six journals
between 1990 and 2000, inclusively, were queried
for the occurrence of our list of five keywords. Of
the six journals there were two, namely AMIT and
JSIS, that were not searchable through ABI
Inform. To identify the relevant papers in these
journals, we relied on Science Direct, a library
service for Elsevier journals for manuscripts
published between 1994 and 2000, and a manual
scan of the abstracts of papers published between
1991 (when both journals started) and 1993.
An initial perusal of the abstracts indicated that
not all of the papers retrieved by the keyword
searches were related to organizational knowl-
edge management as defined earlier, i.e., the
generation, organization/storage, transfer, and
application of organizational knowledge. For
instance, a number of abstracts were retrieved
Schultze & Leidner/Knowledge Management in IS Research
MIS Quarterly Vol. 26 No. 3/September 2002 219
because of statements like we dont have enough
knowledge on this subject. There were also a
number of manuscripts that dealt with IS curri-
culum development and the kinds of knowledge
that IS professionals need. These articles were
excluded from our sample, as they did not
address concerns of organizational knowledge as
much as IS educational concerns. Moreover,
articles focusing on learning outside of an organi-
zational context, such as classroom learning, were
excluded from analysis.
The 94 articles that qualified for inclusion in our
study are listed in Appendix A. Working indepen-
dently, we then classified each article according to
Deetzs (1996) primary classification criteria: the
elite/local dimension and the consensus/ dissen-
sus dimension. Papers that were not research
papers, such as editorials (Galliers 1998, opinion/
issue essays (Mumford 1998; Watson 1994), or
descriptive studies and reviews (Amaravadi et al.
1992; Jones 1995; Maletz 1990; Mann et al. 1991;
Mykytyn et al. 1990; Robey et al. 2000; Sarker
and Lee 1999; Tuomi 1999/2000) were not coded
because absent a theoretical lens and/or an
interpretation of empirical data, it was infeasible to
try to ascertain the authors theoretical view of
knowledge. Our final sample thus comprised 78
articles. Cohens kappa (Cohen 1960) was com-
puted to measure the inter-rater reliability.
Cohens kappa, measured at .959 with a standard
deviation of .04, indicates the degree of
agreement that is achieved after the agreement
due to chance is taken into account. The z-score
of 11.1 shows significant agreement beyond
chance (p < .0001).
Even though the categorization scheme proposed
by Deetz appears straightforward and simple
enough (i.e., it consists of only two dimensions),
we encountered a number of difficulties in coding
the articles. First, articles that used multiple
methods, particularly inductive and deductive
methods (e.g., Jonas and Laios 1993; Mao and
Benbasat 2000), were difficult to code as it was
unclear whether the paper was elite/a priori or
emergent. Second, classifying articles whose
stated approach was different from our reading of
the article presented a dilemma. For example,
some papers claim to deal with power (e.g.,
Huysman 2000) or claim to use an emergent
approach (e.g., Fowler 2000), but these claims
were unsupported by the text. Third, the genre of
academic journal publication favors the presen-
tation of theory and literature prior to data and
analysis. This complicates the communication of
interpretive research, in which the research
insights are derived from data rather than theory.
In some cases, interpretive research is written
much like a normative paper (e.g., Scott 2000),
and normative research appears to be based
more on an emergent than an elite orientation
(e.g., McLure Wasko and Faraj 2000). Thus, it is
more likely that papers are falsely coded as
normative rather than falsely coded in one of the
other discourses. Fourth, papers that rely on data
not specifically collected for the research pre-
sented in the paper (e.g., Brown 1998; Gill 1995;
Käkölä 1995) also require some analysis of
language, writing style, and theory in order to
decide whether the paper was done with an
emergent or elite orientation.
Notwithstanding these difficulties, we classified
each paper into one of the four discourses rather
than locating them in either more than one
discourse or between two discourses. Indeed,
Deetzs notion of discourse allows for disagree-
ments within discourses and for the transfer of
theories, methods, and concepts across dis-
courses. We found that the papers representing
anomalies helped us to define the core meanings
of a discourse. Throughout our discussion of the
discourses, we highlight the poorly demarcated
boundaries between them.
After coding all of the articles in our final sample,
it became apparent that there was no paper
representing the critical discourse. Scanning
through abstracts from the journals we had
chosen for this analysis, we set out to identify an
article that was related to our definition of knowl-
edge management and that was critical. The first
paper we found that met these criteria was the
Elkjaer et al. (1991) paper, The Commodification
of Expertise: The Case of Systems Development
Consulting. We chose this paper as our
exemplar for the critical discourse.
Schultze & Leidner/Knowledge Management in IS Research
220 MIS Quarterly Vol. 26 No. 3/September 2002
Table 2. Classification of Knowledge Management Research in IS
Dialogic Discourse
Bowker (1997)
Orlikowski (1991)
Critical Discourse
Elkjaer, Flensburg, Mouritsen, and Willmott (1991)
Interpretive Discourse
Brown (1998)
El Sawy and Bowles (1997)
George, Iacono, and Kling (1995)
Henfridsson and Söderholm (2000)
Huysman (2000)
Käkölä (1995)
Lanzara (1999)
Pentland (1995)
Reeves-Ellington and Anderson (1997)
Robey and Sahay(1996)
Robey, Wishart, and Rodriguez-Diaz (1995)
Sahay and Robey (1996)
Schultze (2000)
Schultze and Boland (2000a, 2000b)
Scott (2000)
Star and Ruhleder (1996)
Stenmark (2000-2001)
Turoff, Hiltz, Bahgal, and Rana (1993)
Virkkunen and Kuutti (2000)
Normative Discourse
Agarwal , Kudys, and Tanniru (1997)
Argarwal, Tanniru, and Dacruz (1992)
Andreu and Ciborra (1996)
Baets, Brunenberg, and van Wezel (1998)
Balachandran, Buzydlowski, Dworman, Kimbrough,
Vachula, and Shafer (1999)
Baker (1995)
Basu and Hevner (1992)
Bieber and Kimbrough (1992)
Boyton, Zmud, and Jacobs (1994)
Byrd, Cossik, and Zmud (1992)
Choudhury and Sampler (1997)
Dhaliwal and Benbasat (1996)
Edwards, Duan, and Robins (2000)
Fowler (2000)
Gill (1995)
Goodman and Darr (1998)
Gray (2000)
Gregor and Benbasat (1999)
Hightower and Sayeed (1996)
Hine and Goul (1998)
Holsapple and Joshi (2000)
Jarvenpaa and Staples (2000)
Jonas and Laios (1993)
Kiang, Chi, and Tam (1993)
Kirsch and Cummings (1996)
Lamberti and Wallace (1990)
Lee and OKeefe (1996)
Madon (1999)
Mao and Benbasat (2000)
McLure Wasko and Faraj (2000)
Merali (2000)
Meyer and Curley (1991)
Mitev (1996)
Nambisan, Agarwal, and Tanniru (1999)
Nelson and Cooprider (1996)
Newell, Swan, and Robertson (1998)
Nissen (1998, 2000)
Ouksel, Mihavics, and Chalos (1997)
Raghunathan, Krishnan, and May (1993)
Rai (1995)
Shaft and Vessey (1995, 1998)
Simon, Grover, Teng,and Whitcomb (1996)
Srinivas and Shekar (1997)
Stäbler and Erwaldt (1998)
Stein (1992)
Stein and Zwass (1995)
Storey and Goldstein (1993)
Sviokla (1990)
Trice and Davis (1993)
Unland, Kirn, Wanka, OHare,and Abbas (1995)
Wijnhoven (1999)
Zhao, Kumar and Stohr (2000-2001)
Zhu, Prietula and Hsu (1997)
Schultze & Leidner/Knowledge Management in IS Research
MIS Quarterly Vol. 26 No. 3/September 2002 221
Analysis
Our categorization of the knowledge management
articles we considered is presented in Table 2.
In order to highlight the differences between the
discourses in the context of knowledge manage-
ment research, we begin our analysis by sum-
marizing within each discourse four main areas:
the focus of the research, the metaphors of
knowledge based on the operationalizations of
knowledge, the theoretical underpinnings of the
research, and the implications for IS that can be
drawn from the research.
Normative Discourse
Research Focus
The normative discourse has research focusing
on the use of technology to enable discovery in
databases (Balachandran et al. 1990), to develop
efficient organizational memory systems (Wijn-
hoven 1999), and to monitor e-mail usage so that
only individuals who should be interested in an
e-mail announcement (such as one sent to a list)
will receive it (Zhao et al. 2000-2001). There are
papers that examine explanations in knowledge-
based systems (Dhaliwal and Benbasat 1996;
Gregor and Benbasat 1999), as well as papers
that deal with knowledge representation (Lee and
OKeefe 1996; Jonas and Laios 1993; Nissen
2000). Thus, generally speaking, the normative
discourse has as one focus the discovery of tech-
nology solutions (rules, explanations, memory
systems) to knowledge problems (transferring
knowledge from experts to novices; remem-
bering). With regard to knowledge creation and
transfer issues in particular, there is normative
research looking at IT innovation among users
(Nambisan et al. 1999) and the learning about
innovation among IT employees (Agarwal et al.
1997).
While there is a great divergence of knowledge
management related topics covered in the
normative discourse, one unifying theme is that
much of the research frames the research
question in the context of problem solving and
decision-making tasks (e.g., Dhaliwal and Benba-
sat 1996; Zhu et al. 1997; Gray 2000). Research
representing the normative discourse thus creates
a problem space that can be decomposed in a
logical, top-down fashion (Raghunathan et al.
1993; Shaft and Vessey 1995) and represented in
terms of cognitive maps (Srinivas and Shekar
1997). This problem solving focus is particularly
apparent in the research on expert systems.
Knowledge Metaphor
Just as there is a diverse set of research topics
represented in the normative discourse, there is
much diversity in the operationalization of knowl-
edge. Knowledge is operationalized as rules
(Jonas and Laios 1993; Kiang et al. 1993), chunks
(Nissen 1998), explanations (Gregor and Benba-
sat 1999) and problem-solution sets (Goodman
and Darr 1998). These operationalizations are
closely associated with problem-solving tasks in
research on knowledge-based systems. The
metaphor that emerges from these operation-
alizations is knowledge as an object that can exist
outside an individual, that can be stored and
manipulated in the absence of a human knower,
and that can be transferred to others (humans or
machines). Associated with this object metaphor
is the view of knowledge as memory (Stein and
Zwass 1995; Wijnhoven 1999), information (High-
tower and Sayeed 1996) and as stock (Choudhury
and Sampler 1997; Ouksel et al. 1997).
Another way in which knowledge is operation-
alized is as expertise (Stein 1992), competence
(Andreu and Ciborra 1996), familiarity (Shaft and
Vessey 1995), and job experience measured in
terms of tenure (Kirsch and Cummings 1996).
These perspectives associate knowledge with the
individual knower and are therefore distinct from
the presentation of knowledge as an object.
Based on their usage in the research, the
metaphor that binds these operationalizations to
each other is that of asset. These papers view
knowledge as a key driver of organizational
performance, effectiveness, and efficiency.
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It is also noteworthy that the papers in the
normative discourse classify knowledge into
different types, thereby setting up categories
conducive to the construction of contingency
theories. Taxonomies of knowledge include epi-
sodic and semantic memory (Stein and Zwass
1995), declarative (know-what), procedural (know-
how), and conceptual (know-why) knowledge
(Agarwal et al. 1997), and terminological, domain,
and problem-solving knowledge (Dhaliwal and
Benbasat 1996).
Theoretical Foundation
The theories underlying normative research into
knowledge management are varied and include
innovation diffusion theory (Rai 1995), theory of
absorptive capacity (Agarwal et al. 1997; Boyton
et al. 1994), and theories of managerial cognition
(Dhaliwal and Benbasat 1996; Hine and Goul
1998; Merali 2000). Some research develops
theory about the knowledge and time specificity of
information, and uses this to help explain infor-
mation acquisition and environmental scanning
behaviors in organizations (Choudhury and
Sampler 1997).
Quite a few papers in the normative discourse use
theories of knowledge to examine long-standing
research issues in IS, such as the problem of
database design and expert system design. For
instance, Storey and Goldstein (1993) see data-
base design as a knowledge transfer problem.
Similarly, Jonas and Laios (1993) and Lee and
OKeefe (1996) consider expert system design as
a knowledge transfer problem. Nelson and Coop-
rider (1996) see the lack of shared knowledge
between IS and line managers as a contributor to
poor IS group performance, and Boynton et al.
(1994) view communication problems between
developers and users as a result of lack of
common knowledge. Likewise, Nissen (1998)
views reengineering as a knowledge problem, Rai
(1995) considers CASE adoption to be hindered
by knowledge barriers and tests hypotheses as to
the influence of information source on knowledge
barriers to CASE adoption. Nambisan et al.
(1999) examine IT innovation through the per-
spective of knowledge creation. Hence, there is
ample evidence that traditional notions within IS
research are being reinterpreted in light of our
understanding of knowledge, its creation, and its
transfer.
Implications for IS Research
In terms of implications for IS, some of the
research in the normative discourse extracts spe-
cific design recommendations. For example,
Gregor and Benbasat (1999) conclude that
attention needs to be paid to the inclusion of
explanations in any system designed to transfer
knowledge. This conclusion would appear to
extend well beyond expert systems. Hine and
Goul (1998) also draw conclusions about system
design, proposing an initial set of operational
requirements for an organizational learning
system. Goodman and Darr (1998) make design
recommendations for systems that enhance
organizational learning. They suggest attention
be paid to detailed problem and solution
categories so that the matching of problems and
resolutions becomes easier and quicker. As with
the research focus, the normative discourse
emphasizes technology solutionsin this case
design featuresthat promise to improve the
impact of information systems on organizational
knowledge management.
Exemplar of the Normative
Discourse
Jarvenpaa and Staples (2000) studied the use of
collaborative electronic media for information
sharing. Specifically, they looked at factors that
influence individuals to share knowledge via
electronic means. Both the object and the asset
metaphor of knowledge are apparent in this paper.
Jarvenpaa and Staples study assumes both that
individuals can share their knowledge and that
such sharing is beneficial to the organization. The
research question is: What leads individuals to
share and what prompts them to share via an
impersonal medium?
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The authors suggest that one party has to be
willing to give something or get something from
another party. They further elaborate on several
factors that they assert can predict information
sharing behavior. For example, they proposed
that open and organic information cultures, as
opposed to closed and mechanistic information
cultures, lead to greater sharing. They propose
that individuals who believe that what they know
belongs to them, rather than to the organizations
that they serve, will be more likely to share.
Based on prior research, they develop theoretical
antecedents of information sharing and move
toward uncovering the various contingencies that
influence sharing. Their research objective is to
extend the understanding of the organizational
context factors in general and organization culture
in particular.
In an empirical analysis of over 1,000 survey
responses, Jarvenpaa and Staples found that,
contrary to their prediction, open and organic
information cultures were not associated with the
use of collaborative electronic media for infor-
mation sharing whereas closed and mechanistic
information cultures were. They also found that
people who believed the information belonged to
the organization were less likely to use colla-
borative media for sharing than were people who
believed the information was their personal asset.
The role of technology in the normative discourse
is to aid in the storage and transfer of knowledge
so that knowledge is available for retrieval by
others across time and space. Jarvenpaa and
Staples focused exclusively on the role of
electronic communication media in knowledge
transfer, but one can also envision knowledge
bases, repositories, and search engines as
examples of the normative discourses techno-
logical solutions for managing an organizations
stock of knowledge.
In summary, the normative discourse is charac-
terized by a construction of knowledge as an
object and/or asset and its management as a
matter of providing systems to facilitate the storing
and transferring of knowledge. The results of
normative research contribute to the creation of an
analytical infrastructure for contingency theory that
allows researchers to ask questions about the
conditions under which a certain kind of knowl-
edge management solution or technology is more
appropriate than another, and what the implica-
tions of each solution would be. Such a theo-
retical scaffolding creates a path toward progres-
sive enlightenment, which is the purpose of
knowledge in the normative discourse.
Interpretive Discourse
Research Focus
Whereas a fair amount of the research in the
normative discourse treated knowledge as an
independent variable and sought to understand its
role in organizational processes and performance,
knowledge is generally subsumed in organi-
zational practices in the interpretive discourse.
Thus, generally speaking, the interpretive dis-
course does not study knowledge directly but
rather examines the role of knowledge in
organizational transformation (e.g., Robey and
Sahay 1996) and the role of technologies in
supporting knowledge work (e.g., George et al.
1995; Star and Ruhleder 1996). Nevertheless,
some of the research in this discourse asks
questions specifically directed at knowledge pro-
cesses, e.g., how individuals most effectively
retrieve knowledge (Stenmark 2000-2001).
In contrast to the normative discourses focus on
a problem solving setting, the research in the
interpretive discourse focuses on situated work
and organizational practices (e.g., Brown 1998) in
the context of organizational learning (Henfridsson
and Söderholm 2000; Pentland 1995). Moreover,
the interpretive discourse explores the work prac-
tices that constitute knowledge work (Schultze
2000; Schultze and Boland 2000b). Even in
research on IT implementations, the focus is on
organizational practices that both enable and
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224 MIS Quarterly Vol. 26 No. 3/September 2002
inhibit the implementation of technology, rather
than on the technology itself (e.g., El Sawy and
Bowles 1997; Schultze and Boland 2000a).
Knowledge Metaphor
Three interrelated operationalizations of knowl-
edge are apparent in the interpretive discourse.
The first is knowledge as situated practice (Brown
1998; Star and Ruhleder 1996). The second is
knowledge as culture (Huysman 2000; Reeves-
Ellington and Anderson 1997) and culturally and
historically specific tools and concepts (Virk-
kunnnen and Kuutti 2000). The third operation-
alization is knowledge as symbolic capital
(Schultze and Boland 2000a, 2000b), i.e., the
basis for making claims about the value adding
role that an individual or a professional grouping
plays in the organization.
What is common among these operationalizations
is that knowledge is socially constructed and
shared among the participants in a practice or
organizational culture (Pentland 1995) even as
individuals have their own interpretations of
organizational situations and events. Sahay and
Robey (1996) capture this in their operation-
alization of knowledge as social interpretation,
for instance. Thus, in contrast to the normative
discourses notion of knowledge as ever-true and
generalizable rules, the interpretive discourse
highlights the dynamic and situated nature of
knowledge.
Identifying an evocative metaphor to capture
these different operationalizations of knowledge is
difficult, especially since the metaphor is
supposed to simplify a complex phenomenon.
However, the metaphor of organizational mind
(Weick and Roberts 1993) summarizes at least
two of the interpretive operationalizations of
knowledge, namely knowledge as practice and
knowledge as culture. This metaphor of organi-
zational mind should not be confused with the
organization as brain (Morgan 1986). Instead, the
mind metaphor needs to be understood in the
context of organizations as systems of distributed
cognition (Boland et al. 1994), in which individual
participants operate with incomplete information
and knowledge, and without shared meaning. In
such dynamic organizations, the challenge is to
coordinate actions among multiple and potentially
conflicting views expressed by individuals who are
interested in developing and maintaining their
autonomy as well as their unique, personal
identities. According to Weick and Roberts, coor-
dination is achieved through heedful or mindful
interrelating among individuals. The metaphor of
mind thus derives from the verb to mind.
Although it is based on Bourdieus (1977) theory
of practice, the operationalization of knowledge as
symbolic capital extends the view of knowledge as
practice into the dissensus discourses in that it
highlights knowledge claims as a source for
drawing distinctions among value adding and non-
value adding roles in organizations. This is asso-
ciated with power differences between profes-
sional groupings and organizational functions
(also, George et al. 1995). The symbolic capital
operationalization of knowledge is thus an indi-
cation of Deetzs (1996) point that discourses
have poorly demarcated edges and that they are
not sealed off from each other as participants from
one discourse are influenced by the insights
generated in another.
Theoretical Foundation
The knowledge management research in the
interpretive discourse regards knowledge (e.g.,
Pentland 1995), technology (e.g., Käkölä 1995)
and organizational practices (e.g., Robey and
Sahay 1996) as socially constructed. Sahay and
Robey highlight the implications of this social
construction, namely that conceptual knowledge
about a system is heavily intertwined with the
social environment and that this environment
influences not only the spread of knowledge but
also the adoptionand adaptationof information
technology. Because the assimilation process
can be viewed as one of organizational learning,
knowledge transfer and IT adoption, Sahay and
Robey suggest that organizational learning
should be a theoretical perspective adopted for
research on organizational transformation through
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MIS Quarterly Vol. 26 No. 3/September 2002 225
information technology. Pentland (1995) and Scott
(2000) generate models of how IT can facilitate
organizational learning. For instance, Scott identi-
fies ITs use to monitor, to model, and to com-
municate as influencing interorganizational trust,
collaboration, and learning. Robey and Sahay
use organizational learning to understand the
relationship between IT, in this case geographic
information systems, and organizational change.
Other theoretical approaches include Batesons
(1972) levels of learning theory, upon which Star
and Ruhleder (1996) rely to help explain why an
infrastructure intended to facilitate collaboration
and knowledge sharing among researchers failed.
Furthermore, George et al. (1995) and Brown
(1998) rely on Lave and Wengers (1991) com-
munities of practice and legitimate peripheral
learning as theoretical constructs. Schultze and
Boland (2000a, 2000b) apply Bourdieus theory of
practice and Virkkunen and Kuutti (2000) rely on
activity theory. Lanzara (1999) relies on the
theoretical concept of bricolage.
Implications for IS Research
Whereas the research in the normative discourse
focuses on ways of designing IT to support
learning, the interpretive discourse focuses on the
interpretive flexibility of IT (e.g., Käkölä 1995;
Lanzara 1999), and on the social processes by
which IT may facilitate (e.g., Robey et al. 1995;
Scott 2000) or inhibit (Henfriddson and Sö-
derholm 2000; Pentland 1995) organizational
learning. Interpretive research indicates concern
that information systems will reinforce pre-existing
procedures rather than occasion the learning of
new ones. In other words, participants in the
interpretive discourse highlight the unintended
consequences of information technology. For
example, Pentland discussed the potential of
information technology to restrict the range of
inquiry and experience. Similarly, Henfridsson and
Söderholm found that the information technology
they studied seemed to reinforce and augment
pre-existing routines rather than leading to the
learning of new ones; and Schultze and Bolands
(2000a) analysis focused on how technologies
can be at odds with knowledge workers existing
work practices, and that this apparent contra-
diction is not visible even to the very workers who
are doing the job.
In summary, the research in the interpretive
discourse does not provide specific IT develop-
ment guidelines; however, it highlights that
technology needs to be viewed from an emergent
perspective (Markus and Robey 1988). Thus, this
discourse reminds us that as a socially
constructed artifact, technology has unintended
consequences.
Exemplar of the Interpretive
Discourse
Using a grounded-theory approach, Stenmarks
(2000-2001) initial aim was to examine how agent-
based retrieval technology could be used in an
innovative way. In implementing and studying the
use of this agent-based retrieval prototype, he
observed unexpected behavior: the best results
were achieved when the users cut and pasted a
large chunk of text from a relevant document into
a search agent and asked the agent to find more
similar documents. In contrast, users who were
forced to define keywords for a search achieved
less favorable results. Built on explicit knowledge
and espoused theory of work, agents relying on
job profiles linked individuals with others having
supposedly similar interests; however, users
found the results of the agent strange in the
negative sense of the word. Yet users matched
to others via an agent that built on similarities in
documents that both users found usefulin other
words, matching people based on tacit knowl-
edgeregarded the match as interesting and
useful.
Stenmarks study illustrates a very different
metaphor of knowledge from the normative
metaphor of knowledge as an object. Stenmark
rejects the positivistic view of knowledge as an
objectified and monistic absolute truth and
instead adopts a pluralistic epistemology,
acknowledging that there are many forms or types
of human knowledge. This metaphor implies that
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226 MIS Quarterly Vol. 26 No. 3/September 2002
knowledge cannot be managed like an object, i.e.,
separate from human action. Rather, knowledge
is organizational mind, a web of distributed yet
interrelated activities. This view of knowledge is
reflected in Stenmarks findings that users pre-
ferred to provide examples by pointing to relevant
web documents as opposed to citing abstract key-
words to describe their interests. This is because
the act of recognizing an interesting document
utilizes tacit knowledge whereas the task of
selecting descriptive keywords requires a non-
trivial translation to explicit knowledge. The tacit
knowledge or theory in use is regarded by users
as more trustworthy than the knowledge made
explicit or the espoused theory based job
description.
In the interpretive discourse, knowledge is con-
tinuously shaping and being shaped by the social
practices of individuals. Knowledge is both an
outcome of action as well as an input to action. In
Stenmarks paper, knowledge serves as an input
to the retrieval agent and an output of the agents
activities.
Given this inseparability of knowledge from the
knower, how might technology be applied to
knowledge management? Technological solu-
tions to managing knowledge might include the
use of knowledge directories, maps, and pointers
that assist in the identification of experts in the
knowledge community, as was one of the goals of
the prototype Stenmark studied. However, Sten-
mark goes further to suggest that web documents
and information retrieval technologies can act as
a facilitator in the knowledge management pro-
cess by leveraging tacit knowledge in an intra-
organizational web. Indeed, he states that just
because knowledge is implicit in behavior, it does
not imply that it is outside the realm of IT support.
He concludes that instead of trying to identify,
capture, and make tacit knowledge explicitas
the normative discourse espouses IT should be
designed to use tacit knowledge to help users
locate and communicate with knowledgeable
people in their area of interest.
In summary, the interpretive discourse concerns
itself particularly with coordinating collective action
in systems of distributed knowledge. It views
knowledge as mind, a notion that does not
separate knowledge from action, but views it
instead as a dynamic affordance for heedful
interrelating. In light of this image of organiza-
tions, knowledge plays an important role in the
recovery of integrative values that support
communities of practice.
Critical Discourse
In the critical discourse we found only one
example, the paper by Elkjaer et al. (1991). As
this is the only paper representing the critical
discourse, we will highlight each of the themes
research focus, knowledge metaphor, theoretical
foundations, and the implications for ISwithin
our discussion of the research exemplar below.
Exemplar of the Critical Discourse
The research focus of the paper by Elkjaer et al.
is on power relations in organizations. In parti-
cular, the authors wish to stimulate reflection on
the social process through which systems
developers authoritative power and expertise is
constituted and maintained. In this endeavor, they
rely on two a priori assumptions: (1) that systems
developers are acting as agents with their own
interests and motivations, instead of merely being
a disinterested party to the application of a
development tool-set or methodology, and (2) that
prevailing organizational structures are power
relations that are incapable of supporting and
sustaining open dialog and agreement between
users and systems developers. These theoretical
assumptions motivate this research and its objec-
tive to reclaim conflict and destroy false order by
advocating that systems developers not only take
a more critical stance towards the nature of
institutionalization (p. 154), but also explore how
information systems may be used to change and
develop the institutional conditions which currently
Schultze & Leidner/Knowledge Management in IS Research
MIS Quarterly Vol. 26 No. 3/September 2002 227
frustrate and impede communication and coopera-
tion in organizations (p. 154). In that sense, the
papers objective is in line with the agenda of the
critical discourse to unmask domination (Deetz
1996).
In their endeavor to open Pandoras box (p. 151),
Elkjaer et al. critique the systems development
philosophy and methodology described in the
1988 annual report of BSO, a large Dutch tech-
nology consulting firm. At the heart of BSOs
methodology is an ideology of consensus among
users. However, the authors note that the power
relations inherent in organizational structures
generally restrict the open dialogue that is
required for such consensus building. This argu-
ment is based on a critical view of institutionalized
organizational structures and a theoretical founda-
tion based on labor process theory and the work
of Foucault (1979).
Institutionalization of particular organi-
zational and social practices is generally
an outcome of on-going struggle between
different groups who have unequal
access to valued material and symbolic
resources rather than the result of an
unmediated meeting of minds. Oppor-
tunities to engage in, and secure control
over, processes of institutionalization are
asymmetrically distributed in organi-
zations and society (p. 149).
Furthermore, organizational control mechanisms
are
historically forged through the systematic
exclusion and subordination of the pro-
prieties of employees to the impersonal
discipline of management and the capi-
talist market (p. 153).
Elkjaer et al. fault the consulting firm for remaining
silent on issues related to such organizational
power structures in the presentation of their own
expertise. This expertise was manifest in BSOs
systems development philosophy and methodo-
logy, which espoused agreement and consensus
building through dialogue. The authors do not
take BSOs silence on issues of organizational
power structures as a form of ignorance or
naïveté; instead they see it as a consequence of
the commodification of knowledge and as a form
of self-censorship contrived by BSOs own need to
position itself within relations of power. In other
words, in order to put itself into a position of
relative competitive advantage and to speak with
some measure of authority, BSO needs to
commodify its expertise.
However, as knowledge becomes a commodity
and enters a realm of political economy in which
any claim to universal utility is subverted by its
perceived value to parties (e.g., users and
developers) who do not, in practice, routinely
assume or accept a shared sense of their respec-
tive interests (p. 152), the systems developers
who claim ownership over this knowledge need to
render it valuable by making it acceptable to their
customers. Hence, the consultants claims of
objective and neutral expertise need to be
tempered by their self-interested concerns about
securing and advancing their position in a
competitive market place.
In the paper by Elkjaer et al., the metaphor of
knowledge is commodity: something that poses
as a neutral object or resource. However, this
image of knowledge is criticized on the grounds
that knowledge is not neutral but carefully crafted
within the context of specific market or organi-
zational relations. Furthermore, the authors of this
paper maintain that it is the decommodification of
knowledge (p. 153) that offers hope of achieving
more equitable institutional structures, namely
those that are more amenable to open dialogue
and more equitable power relations. It is only
through the unpacking of the contextual economic
and power relations, in which the knowledge
commodity is produced and used, that knowledge
in the form of organizational consensus can come
to the fore.
The implication for IS research that we can draw
from this paper is that systems development
methodologies and the IS professionals who apply
them, are not neutral. IS developers and the
methodologies that they advocate need to be
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228 MIS Quarterly Vol. 26 No. 3/September 2002
understood in the context of the larger socio-
political context. Neither outside technology con-
sultants, such as BSO, nor their methodologies,
can claim to be objective.
The authors thus conclude that BSOs apparent
commitment to agreement and consensus
building in organizations is not genuine; if it were,
they would seek ways of using technology to
facilitate institutional conditions that foster colla-
boration and communication in organizations and
that attempt to overcome
the institutional barriers in the form or
relations of autonomy and dependence
[that] form a context through which only
some forms of agreements and dialogue
are acceptable (p. 150).
In sum, the work by Elkjaer et al. has highlighted
that the critical discourse concerns itself with the
power relations and inequities that are inherent in
organizational and societal structures. At a mini-
mum, critical researchers seek to highlight these
power inequities and demonstrate their influence
on economic action; at a maximum, critical
researchers seek to affect social change through
action research.
Dialogic Discourse
One of the two articles representing the dialogic
discourse explores the intertwined nature of
organizational learning and intentional organiza-
tional forgetting (Bowker 1997); the other, the
reciprocally invoked dynamic between organiza-
tional controls and information technology (Orli-
kowski 1991). Relying upon grounded methods,
these papers are indicative of the dialogic dis-
course in that they develop insights on managing
knowledge in an emergent way. Furthermore,
both papers address the contradictory nature of
managing knowledge. Bowker examines this in
the context of the creation of classification
schemes, while Orlikowski focuses on the
embedding of an organizations system develop-
ment methodology in a CASE tool. Both articles
are cognizant of the implications that knowledge
management initiatives have on power relations in
organizations. Because of the paucity of the
research representing this discourse, we will
highlight each of the four knowledge management
research themes in the discussion of our
exemplar.
Exemplar of the Dialogic Discourse
Bowkers research focus is the dynamically
intertwined and conflicting nature of organizational
memory and organizational forgetting, as well as
the implications of memory and forgetting on
identity, visibility, and power. Bowker highlights
the dynamic tension between the selective
erasure and clearance of the nursing professions
past knowledge and the construction of a new
classification scheme of nursing work that is
intended to render the profession more scientific
and its work more visible. The motivation behind
greater visibility is to ensure that nursing work
becomes part of the formal record in the hospital
systems informational infrastructure. In other
words, the nursing profession does not want its
contribution to be either ignored or forgotten.
In his deconstruction of documents related to the
Nursing Interventions Classification (NIC) project,
Bowker emphasizes the complexity of balancing
the positive and negative implications of creating
a classification scheme for the nursing profession.
He argues that this classification scheme serves
as an infrastructure or theory of nursing knowl-
edge, and that it enables nursing work to become
a legitimate part of the patient record. Further-
more, this classification scheme will make nursing
knowledge more accessible to scientific inquiry.
At the same time, this new classification scheme
serves a disciplining function that threatens to turn
a care-giving profession into an information-
processing one. While this conceptualization of
the research appears rather Foucauldian, Bowker
relies on literature from the sociology of science
(e.g., Latour 1987) as a theoretical foundation.
Schultze & Leidner/Knowledge Management in IS Research
MIS Quarterly Vol. 26 No. 3/September 2002 229
Using the NIC project as an illustrative example,
Bowker highlights the contradictory nature of
organizational learning and knowledge creation: in
order to create a classification scheme that
legitimizes and makes visible nursing work,
existing knowledge structures have to be selec-
tively erased or rendered inaccessible by erecting
a barrier that prevents knowledge from the past to
seep through to the present. This is because past
knowledge and identities have to be sworn off in
order to embrace the new profession with all its
promises of scientific status, visibility, and the
respect that they command. Thus, in motivating
the need for a new nomenclature and knowledge
infrastructure, the creators of the NIC simulta-
neously acknowledge and deny the existence of
prior nursing knowledge:
The NIC team in general are claiming
both that nursing is already a science
and that it is one which has not yet been
formulated: they need to maintain the
former in order to justify the profession
against current attacks and the latter in
order to justify their classification system,
which when in place will protect it from
future attacks (p. 122).
Thus knowledge, particularly existing knowledge,
is a liability. Such a view stands in stark contrast
to the normative discourses notion of knowledge
as an asset. In addition to increasing the visibility
of the nursing profession, the new NIC classi-
fication scheme acts as a disciplining device.
Nurses are no longer supposed to do everything
possible (p. 121) to help a patient; instead, they
are supposed to set priorities and make decisions
with the same rationality as the other professions
that operate within the contemporary data-centric,
information-intensive environment. And by
striving for increased visibility through the creation
of a classification scheme that allows for easy
representation and capture of nursing work in
electronic patient records, the NIC project also
creates the conditions for an information pan-
opticon (p. 124). Thus one of the challenges of
the NIC project is to make nursing work visible
enough without making it too visible. This is
achieved through continued partial erasure of
nursing knowledge (p. 126).
Bowkers paper is exemplary of the dialogic
discourse in that it highlights the value of strategic
and selective forgetting and the creation of knowl-
edge as the construction of new disciplinary power
relationships. The dialogic discourse focuses on
the disciplinary practices that operate to create
order, knowledge, and power effects. The meta-
phor of knowledge is discipline, with discipline
having a dual meaning as (1) a branch of
knowledge and (2) a system of correction and
control (Foucault 1979). This inextricable inter-
mingling of knowledge and power give rise to the
construct of power/knowledge and highlights that
before something can be controlled, managed, or
governed, it must first be known. Knowledge thus
plays a fundamental role in rendering phenomena
visible, thinkable, calculable, and amenable to
intervention. In other words, knowledge makes
things manageable.
The implications for IS research that can be drawn
from Bowkers article include the role that tech-
nology plays in making invisible work visible, and
the stakes that are involved in achieving this feat.
This research also raises questions about the
feasibility of organizational forgetting in the face of
increasing technology use. It would seem that
strategies of clearance and erasure are difficult to
execute in an environment of visible and traceable
information. Hence strategies that initially promise
visibility may lead to unerasable information traces
that ensnare rather than progressively enlighten.
In summary, the dialogic discourses view of
knowledge as discipline, i.e., a system of knowing
and correcting, appears somewhat negative and
hopeless. The creation and management of
knowledge is not a means of achieving progress
toward a goal such as sustained competitive
advantage. Instead it results in a never-ending
cycle of self-reflection and self-discipline. From
Bowker, we learn that the way to escape from the
disciplinary power that knowledge exerts over a
knower or a profession is through selective and
strategic forgetting.
Schultze & Leidner/Knowledge Management in IS Research
230 MIS Quarterly Vol. 26 No. 3/September 2002
Discussion and Implications
Our primary objective with this paper was to take
stock of IS-based knowledge management re-
search by identifying the theoretical perspectives
of knowledge and its management that are
possible and assessing the extent to which these
diverse perspectivesas captured in dis-
coursesare represented in knowledge manage-
ment research that has been published in IS
journals in the last 10 years. Our analysis
highlights that more than half of the published
knowledge management research (i.e., 55
articles) represents the normative discourse.
Twenty of the articles represented the interpretive
discourse, two represented the dialogic discourse,
and only one article was found that embraced the
theoretical assumptions of the critical discourse.
These results show that the portfolio of knowledge
management research in the IS literature is biased
toward the consensus discourses and the norma-
tive discourse in particular. This implies that the
negative implications of knowledge, namely its
disciplining and dominating effects, are left largely
unexamined. Although research in the interpretive
discourse highlights the negative consequences
of information technologies on organizational
learning, the discourse does not question the
value of knowledge itself. The danger of an area
of research that ignores a set of epistemological
assumptions is that it may become unduly myopic
and closed to new ideas. Furthermore, if organi-
zational members experiences with knowledge
management are more influenced by power,
politics, and contradiction than IS researchers are
able to recognize, then the research will lose its
ability to explain organizations experiences with
knowledge management. The metaphors asso-
ciated with each discourse should help re-
searchers and practitioners capture their under-
lying assumptions about knowledge and its
management.
This paper has highlighted that each of the
discourses lends itself to a particular aspect of
knowledge management research. For instance,
the normative discourse appears well suited to
studying technology solutions to knowledge
management problems. The interpretive dis-
course, in contrast, is more adept at under-
standing the implementation and the organi-
zational implications of knowledge management
initiatives and technologies. With the paucity of
papers in both the critical and the dialogic
discourses, it is difficult to identify themes in the
dissensus discourses. Nevertheless, based on
Deetzs framework and the exemplars presented
in this paper, we can identify some research
topics that may be fruitfully approached from
either a critical or a dialogic perspective. The
critical discourse is promising with respect to high-
lighting the social inequities underlying such
organizational stratifications as the distinction
between service and knowledge work (Drucker
1993). The dialogic discourse lends itself well to
the examination of the contradictions in managing
knowledge.
Because of the different assumptions of knowl-
edge in each discourse, the questions sur-
rounding a research issue will vary across
discourses. We encourage researchers to con-
sider alternative research questions within a given
knowledge management research stream. Take
as an example the impact of knowledge manage-
ment systems on individual power. A normative
researcher might hypothesize that knowledge
management systems allow for faster, more
effective problem solving, thereby essentially
increasing individual power. The normative
researcher could build a model based upon
existing theory, such as organizational learning or
absorptive capacity, and test this in an organiza-
tional context. An interpretive researcher inte-
rested in the same issue might suggest that a
priori relationships are not appropriate, and
therefore seek to discover how individuals use
knowledge management systems in ways that
increase their power. The interpretive researcher
could very well employ the same theories as the
normative researcher, with a hope of explaining
the phenomenon through the theory and possibly
expanding the theory rather than testing it. The
critical researcher might pursue a project to
uncover ways that individuals can prevent their
Schultze & Leidner/Knowledge Management in IS Research
MIS Quarterly Vol. 26 No. 3/September 2002 231
own loss of power (and possible deskilling) with
the introduction of knowledge management sys-
tems. As a theoretical base, such research might
draw upon a variety of social perspectives,
including that of Marx. A dialogic researcher,
drawing from Foucault (1979) as a theoretical
base, might hypothesize the opposite of the
normative researcher, namely that such systems
normalize behavior and actually hinder, rather
than promote, effective responses, thus dis-
empowering, rather than empowering, the
individual.
In summary, we encourage researchers to con-
sider their implicit assumptions about knowledge,
its meaning and its worth. We further wish to
challenge researchers to consider broadening
their range of inquiry and to consider perspectives
other than the ones with which they are most
comfortable. In particular, we hope that this article
promotes a line of inquiry into the contradictory
and double-edged nature of knowledge.
Limitations
Like any research, ours has its shortcoming.
Foremost among them is the somewhat ambi-
guous definition of knowledge management.
Even though knowledge management became a
buzzword in the 1990s, this does not mean that
similar initiatives did not exist prior to the populari-
zation of this concept. The way that we have
sought to overcome this problem of nomenclature
in constructing our keywords, with which knowl-
edge management papers were identified, was by
including organizational learning and memory
in our operationalization of knowledge manage-
ment.
Conclusions
In order to promote a stream of knowledge
management research that is neither biased nor
constrained by theoretical assumptions and
methodological choices, this paper attempts to
raise awareness of the various discourses of
knowledge management. We have reviewed the
IS literature on knowledge management in order
to understand how knowledge is currently treated
and to understand what topics and themes are
raised by IS researchers undertaking studies of
knowledge management. In so doing, we have
noted tendencies to adopt an optimistic view of
the role of knowledge in organizations and the role
of information systems in enabling knowledge
management. The voices of the dissenters are
few; however, they are provocative. We therefore
encourage IS researchers to wrestle with the
difficult issues of power and conflict that knowl-
edge management might incite. The metaphors
used to explain the views of knowledge repre-
sented in the four discourses can help guide the
development of definitions and interpretations of
knowledge.
Finally, our research suggests that few IS
researchers doing knowledge management
research are adopting the critical and dialogic
discourses in their research programs, or that few
journals are publishing these discourses. The
exemplars presented as representative of these
discourses provide a shining testament to the
interesting conclusions that can be derived from
adopting the dissensus perspective. Given the
influence that epistemological assumptions have
on a researchers interpretation of data, we
encourage more IS researchers to consider
reinterpreting their existing work or engaging in
new research built around the critical and dialogic
discourses. In this way, IS-based research on
knowledge management will develop a stronger
theoretical base that includes both favorable and
unfavorable consequences of knowledge and its
management.
Acknowledgements
We would like to thank Charles Stabell for his
collaboration on an earlier version of this paper.
Furthermore, we would like to thank Dan Robey,
serving as SE, the AE, and the four anonymous
reviewers for their suggestions on earlier drafts of
this paper.
Schultze & Leidner/Knowledge Management in IS Research
232 MIS Quarterly Vol. 26 No. 3/September 2002
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Ethnography About Knowledge Work, MIS
Quarterly (24:1), 2000, pp. 1-39.
Schultze, U., and Boland Jr., R. J. Knowledge
Management Technology and the Reproduction
of Knowledge Work Practices, Journal of
Strategic Information Systems (9:2/3), 2000a,
pp. 193-212.
Schultze, U., and Boland Jr., R. J. Place, Space
and Knowledge Work: A Study of Outsourced
Computer Systems Administrators, Ac-
counting, Management and Information Tech-
nologies (10:3), 2000b, pp.187-219.
Scott, J. E. Facilitating Organizational Learning
with Information Technology, Journal of
Management Information Systems (17:2), 2000,
pp. 81-113.
Shaft, T. M., and Vessey, I. The Relevance of
Application Domain Knowledge: The Case of
Computer Program Comprehensiveness, Infor-
mation Systems Research (6:3), 1995, pp. 286-
299.
Shaft, T., and Vessey, I. The Relevance of
Application Domain Knowledge, Journal of
Management Information Systems (15:1), 1998,
pp. 51-78.
Simon, S., Grover, V., Teng, J., and Whitcomb, K.
The Relationship of Information Systems
Training Methods and Cognitive Ability to End-
User Satisfaction, Comprehension, and Skill
Transfer: A Longitudinal Field Study, Infor-
mation Systems Research (7:4), 1996, pp. 466-
490.
Srinivas, V., and Shekar, B. Applications of
Uncertainty-Based Mental Models in
Organizational Learning: A Case Study in the
Indian Automobile Industry, Accounting,
Management and Information Technologies
(7:2), 1997, pp. 87-112.
Stäbler, S. G., and Erwaldt, J. W. Simulation
Modeling and Analysis of Complex Learning
Processes in Organizations, Accounting,
Management and Information Technologies (8),
1998, pp. 255-263.
Star, S. L., and Ruhleder, K. Steps Towards an
Ecology of Infrastructure: Design and Access
for Large Information Spaces, Information
Systems Research (7:1), 1996, pp. 111-134.
Stein, E. W. A Method to Identify Candidates for
Knowledge Acquisition, Journal of Manage-
ment Information Systems (9:2), 1992, pp. 161-
178.
Stein, E. W., and Zwass, V. Actualizing Organi-
zational Memory with Information Systems,
Information Systems Research 6:2, 1995, pp.
85-117.
Stenmark, D. Leveraging Tacit Organizational
Knowledge, Journal of Management Informa-
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Storey, V. C., and Goldstein, R. C. Knowledge-
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Quarterly (17:1), 1993, pp. 25-46.
Sviokla, R. An Examination of the Impact of
Expert Systems on the Firm: The Case of
XCON, MIS Quarterly (14:2), 1990, pp. 127-
141.
Tinker, T. Metaphor or Reification: Are Radical
Humanists Really Libertarian Anarchists?,
Journal of Management Studies (23:4), 1986,
pp. 363-384.
Trice, A., and Davis, R. Heuristics for Recon-
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tion Systems Research (4:2), 1993, pp. 262-
288.
Schultze & Leidner/Knowledge Management in IS Research
MIS Quarterly Vol. 26 No. 3/September 2002 237
Tsoukas, H. Refining Common Sense: Types of
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Management Studies (31:6), 1994, pp. 761-
780.
Tuomi, I. Data Is More Than Knowledge: Impli-
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for Knowledge Management and Organizational
Memory, Journal of Management Information
Systems (16:3), 1999/2000, pp. 103-117.
Turoff, M., Hiltz, S. R., Bahgat, A. N. F., and Rana,
A. R. Distributed Group Support Systems,
MIS Qaurterly (17:4), December 1993, pp. 399-
417.
Unland, R, Kirn, S., Wanka, U., OHare, G. M. P.,
and Abbas, S. AEGIS: Agent Oriented Organi-
zations, Accounting, Management and Infor-
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Virkkunen, J., and Kuutti, K. Understanding
Organizational Learning by Focusing on Acti-
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319.
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Memory, Academy of Management Review
(16:1), 1991, pp. 57-91.
Watson, R. Creating and Sustaining a Global
Community of Scholars, MIS Quarterly (18:4),
1994, pp. 225-231.
Weick, K. E., and Roberts, K. Collective Mind in
Organizations: Heedful Interrelating on Flight
Decks, Administrative Science Quarterly (38),
September 1993, pp. 357-381.
Wicks, A. C., and Freeman, R. E. Organization
Studies and the New Pragmatism: Positivism,
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Wijnhoven, F. Development Scenarios for Orga-
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About the Authors
Ulrike Schultze is an assistant professor in
Information Technology and Operations Manage-
ment at Southern Methodist University. Her
research focuses on the impact of information
technology on work practices and she has been
particularly interested in knowledge work, i.e., the
social processes of creating and using information
in organizations. Ulrike has written on hard and
soft information genres, information overload,
knowledge management, and knowledge workers
informing practices. Her more recent projects are
in the area of electronic business and social
embeddeness. Her research has been published
in MIS Quarterly, The Journal of Organizational
Computing and Electronic Commerce, The
Journal of Strategic Information Systems and
Information & Organizations. Ulrike currently
serves on the editorial boards of MIS Quarterly,
Information & Organization, and The Journal of
Information Technology.
Dorothy E. Leidner is a professor of Information
Systems and Director of the Center for Knowledge
Management at Baylor University. Prior to
rejoining the Baylor faculty, she was associate
professor at INSEAD and at Texas Christian
University. She has also been a visiting professor
at the Instituto Tecnologico y des Estudios Supe-
riores de Monterrey, Mexico, at the Institut
d'Administration des Entreprises at the Université
de Caen, France, and at Southern Methodist Uni-
versity. Dorothy received her Ph.D. in Information
Systems from the University of Texas at Austin.
Dorothy's research has been published in a
variety of journals, such as MIS Quarterly, Infor-
mation Systems Research, Journal of Manage-
ment Information Systems, Decision Sciences,
Decision Support Systems, and Organization
Science. She has received best paper awards in
1993 from the Hawaii International Conference on
System Sciences, in 1995 from MIS Quarterly,
and in 1999 from the Academy of Management.
She is currently serving as co-editor of the journal
Data Base for Advances in Information Systems.
Schultze & Leidner/Knowledge Management in IS Research
238 MIS Quarterly Vol. 26 No. 3/September 2002
Appendix A
Knowledge Management Articles Included in Our Sample
Note: Journals are listed in alphabetical order; articles are listed in chronological order.
Journal Author(s) Title
AMIT
(24)
Orlikowski (1991) Integrated Information Environment or Matrix of Control? The
Contradictory Implications of Information Technology
Elkjaer, Flensburg,
Mouritsen and Willmott
(1991)
The Commodification of Expertise: The Case of Systems
Development Consulting
Jönsson (1992) Accounting for Improvement: Action Research on Local
Management Support
George, Iacono and
Kling (1995)
Learning in Context: Extensively Computerized Work Groups
as Communities of Practice
Unland, Kirn, Wanka,
OHare and Abbas
(1995)
AEGIS: Agent Oriented Organizations
Käkölä (1995) Increasing the Interpretive Flexibility of Information Systems
through Embedded Application Systems
Gill (1995) High-Tech Hidebound: Case Studies of Information Techno-
logies that inhibited Organizational Learning
Robey, Wishart and
Rodriguez-Diaz (1995)
Merging the Metaphors for Organizational Improvement:
Business Process Reengineering as a Component of
Organizational Learning
Jones (1995) Organizational Learning: Collective Mind or Cognitivist
Metaphor?
Pentland (1995) Information Systems and Organizational Learning: The
Social Epistemology of Organizational Knowledge
Kirsch and Cummings
(1996)
Contextual Influences on Self-Control of IS Professionals
Engaged in Systems Development
Sahay and Robey
(1996)
Organizational Context, Social Interpretation, and the
Implementation and Consequences of GIS
Reeves-Ellington and
Anderson (1997)
The Ethnology of Information: Cultural Learning Through
Cooperative Action Research in a Multinational Firm
Srinivas and Shekar
(1997)
Applications of Uncertainty-Based Mental Models in Organi-
zational Learning: A Case Study in the Indian Automobile
Industry
Bowker (1997) Lest We Remember: Organizational Forgetting and the
Production of Knowledge
Ouksel, Mihavics and
Chalos (1997)
Accounting Information Systems and Organizational
Learning: A Simulation
Schultze & Leidner/Knowledge Management in IS Research
Journal Author(s) Title
MIS Quarterly Vol. 26 No. 3/September 2002 239
Brown (1998) Internet Technology in Support of the Concept of Communi-
ties of Practice: The Case of Xerox
Baets, Brunenberg, and
van Wezel (1998)
Using Neural Network-Based Tools for Building Learning
Organizations
Stäbler and Erwaldt
(1998)
Simulation Modeling and Analysis of Complex Learning Pro-
cesses in Organizations
Henfridsson and
Söderholm (2000)
Barriers to Learning: On Organizational Defenses and
Vicious Circles in Technological Adoption
Robey, Boudreau, and
Rose (2000)
Information Technology and Organizational Learning: A
Review and Assessment of Research
Huysman (2000) Rethinking Organizational Learning: Analyzing the Learning
Processes of Information Systems Designer
Schultze and Boland
(2000)
Place, Space and Knowledge Work: A Study of Outsourced
Computer Systems Administrators
Virkkunen and Kuutti
(2000)
Understanding Organizational Learning by Focusing on
Activity Systems
EJIS
(6)
Jonas and Laios (1993) Knowledge Acquisition and Integration Tools Aiming to
Support Managerial Planning in Greek SMEs
Rai (1995) External Information Source and Channel Effectiveness and
the Diffusion of CASE innovations: An Empirical Study
Lee and OKeefe (1996) An Experimental Investigation into the Process of
Knowledge-Based Systems Development
Mitev (1996) Convergence and Divergence in Information Systems and
Knowledge Based Systems Methodologies: A Case for
Integrated Strategic Planning
Agarwal, Krudys, and
Tanniru (1997)
Infusing Learning into the Information Systems Organization
Edwards, Duan, and
Robins (2000)
An Analysis of Expert Systems for Business Decision Making
at Different Levels and in Different Roles
ISR
(11)
Trice and Davis (1993) Heuristics for Reconciling Independent Knowledge Bases
Raghunathan, Krishnan,
and May (1993)
MODFORM: A Knowledge-Based Tool to Support the
Modeling Process
Stein and Zwass (1995) Actualizing Organizational Memory with Information Systems
Shaft and Vessey
(1995)
The Relevance of Application Domain Knowledge: The Case
of Computer Program Comprehension
Dhaliwal and Benbasat
(1996)
The Use and Effect of KBS Explanations: Theoretical
Foundations and a Framework for Empirical Evaluation
Robey and Sahay
(1996)
Transforming Work Through Information Technology: A
Comparative Case Study of GIS in County Government
Hightower and Sayeed
(1996)
Effects of Communication Mode and Prediscussion
Information Distribution Characteristics on Information
Exchange in Groups
Sinha and May (1996) Providing Design Assistance: A Case-Based Approach
Schultze & Leidner/Knowledge Management in IS Research
Journal Author(s) Title
240 MIS Quarterly Vol. 26 No. 3/September 2002
Simon, Grover, Teng,
and Whitcomb (1996)
The Relationship of Information Systems Training Methods
and Cognitive Ability to End-User Satisfaction, Comprehen-
sion, and Skill Transfer: A Longitudinal Field Study
Star and Ruhleder
(1996)
Steps Towards an Ecology of Infrastructure: Design and
Access for Large Information Spaces
Zhu, Prietula, and Hsu
(1997)
When Processes Learn: Steps Toward Crafting an Intelligent
Organization
JMIS
(15)
Stein (1992) A Method to Identify Candidates for Knowledge Acquisition
Agrawal, Tanniru and
Dacruz (1992)
Knowledge-Based Support for Combining Qualitative and
Quantitative Judgments in Resource Allocation Decisions
Amaravadi, Liu, George,
and Nunamaker (1992)
AEI: A Knowledge-Based Approach to Integrated Office
Systems
Basu and Hevner (1992) The Analysis and Design of Embedded Knowledge-Based
Systems using Box Structure Method
Kiang, Chi, and Tam
(1993)
DKAS: A Distributed Knowledge Acquisition System in a
DSS
Hine and Goul (1998) The Design, Development and Validation of a Knowledge-
Based Organizational Learning Support System
Shaft and Vessey
(1998)
The Relevance of Application Domain Knowledge
Balachandran,
Buzydlowski, Dworman,
Kimbrough, Vachula,
and Shafer (1999)
MOTC: An Interactive Aid for Multidimensional Hypothesis
Generation
Wijnhoven (1999) Development Scenarios for Organizational Memory Infor-
mation Systems
Tuomi (1999) Data Is More than Knowledge: Implications of the Reversed
Knowledge Hierarchy for Knowledge Management and
Organizational Memory
Stenmark (2000) Leveraging Tacit Organizational Knowledge
Nissen (2000) An Experiment to Assess the Performance of a Redesign
Knowledge System
Mao and Benbasat
(2000)
The Use of Explanation in Knowledge-Based Systems:
Cognitive Perspectives and Process Tracking Analysis
Zhao, Kumar, and Stohr
(2000)
Workflow-Centric Information Distribution Through E-mail
Scott (2000) Facilitating Organizational Learning with Information
Technology
JSIS
(17)
Baker (1995) The Role of Feedback in Assessing Information Systems
Planning Effectiveness
Moreton (1995) Transforming the Organization: The Contribution of the
Information Systems Function
Andreu and Ciborra
(1996)
Organizational Leaning and Core Capabilities Development:
The Role of IT
Schultze & Leidner/Knowledge Management in IS Research
Journal Author(s) Title
MIS Quarterly Vol. 26 No. 3/September 2002 241
Galliers (1998) Towards the Integration of E-Business, Knowledge Manage-
ment and Policy Considerations Within an Information
Systems Strategy Framework
Mumford (1998) Problems, Knowledge, Solutions: Solving Complex Problems
Newell, Swan, and
Robertson (1998)
A Cross-National Comparison of the Adoption of Business
Process Reengineering: Fashion Setting Networks?
Madon (1999) International NGOs: Networking, Information Flows and
Learning
Lanzara (1999) Between Transient Constructs and Persistent Structures:
Designing Systems for Action
Galliers (1999) Towards the Integration of E-Business, Knowledge Manage-
ment and Policy Considerations within an Information
Systems Strategy Framework
Sarker and Lee (1999) IT-enabled Organizational Transformation: A Case Study of
BPR Failure in TELECO
Fowler (2000) The Role of AI Technology in Support of the Knowledge
Management Value Activity Chain
Jarvenpaa and Staples
(2000)
The Use of Collaborative Electronic Media for Information
Sharing: An Exploratory Study of Determinant
McLure Wasko and
Faraj (2000)
It Is What One Does: Why People Participate and Help
Others in Electronic Communities of Practice
Gray (2000) The Effects of Knowledge Management Systems on
Emergent Teams: Towards a Research Model
Schultze and Boland
(2000)
Knowledge Management Technology and the Reproduction
of Knowledge Work Practices
Merali (2000) Individual and Collective Congruence in the Knowledge
Management Process
Holsapple and Joshi
(2000)
An Investigation of Factors that Influence the Management of
Knowledge in Organizations
MISQ
(21)
Lamberti and Wallace
(1990)
Intelligent Interface Design: An Empirical Assessment of
Knowledge Presentation in Expert Systems
Mykytyn, Mykytyn, and
Slinkman (1990)
Expert Systems: A Question of Liability
Sviokla (1990) An Examination of the Impact of Expert systems on the Firm:
The Case of XCON
Maletz (1990) KBS Circles: A Technology Transfer Initiative that Leverages
Xeroxs Leadership through Quality Program
Mann, Rudman,
Jencjkes, and McNurlin
(1991)
EPRINET: Leveraging Knowledge in the Electric Utility
Industry
Meyer and Curley
(1991)
An Applied Framework for Classifying the Complexity of
Knowledge-Based Systems
Bieber and Kimbrough
(1992)
On Generalizing the Concept of Hypertext
Schultze & Leidner/Knowledge Management in IS Research
Journal Author(s) Title
242 MIS Quarterly Vol. 26 No. 3/September 2002
Byrd, Cossick, and
Zmud (1992)
A Synthesis of Research on Requirements Analysis and
Knowledge Acquisition Techniques
Turoff, Hiltz, Bahgal,
and Rana (1993)
Distributed Group Support Systems
Storey and Goldstein
(1993)
Knowledge-Based Approaches to Database Design
Boyton, Zmud, and
Jacobs (1994)
The Influence of IT Management Practice on IT use in Large
Organizations
Watson (1994) Creating and Sustaining a Community of Scholars
Alavi, Wheeler, and
Valacich (1995)
Using IT to Reengineer Business Education: An Exploration
of Collaborative Learning
Nelson and Cooprider
(1996)
The Contribution of Shared Knowledge to IS Group
Performance
Choudhury and Sampler
(1997)
Information Specificity and Environmental Scanning: An
Economic Perspective
El Sawy and Bowles
(1997)
Redesigning the Customer Support Process for the
Electronic Economy: Insights from Storage Dimensions
Goodman and Darr
(1998)
Computer-Aided Systems and Communities: Mechanisms
for Organizational Learning in Distributed Environments
Nissen (1998) Redesigning Reengineering Through Measurement-Driven
Inference
Gregor and Benbasat
(1999)
Explanations form Intelligent Systems: Theoretical
Foundations and Implications for Practice
Nambisan, Agarwal, and
Tanniru (1999)
Organizational Mechanisms for Enhancing User Innovation in
Information Technology
Schultze (2000) A Confessional Account of an Ethnography about Knowledge
Work